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Vodafone and Visa offer NFC payment

Telco service provider, Vodafone Hutchison Australia, has collaborated with payment technology vendor, Visa, to offer its new smartphone app, Vodafone SmartPass, that will enable consumers to pay for goods and services with NFC enabled smartphones.

In February, Vodafone and Visa announced a mobile payments partnership to enable consumers to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones.

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In the fashion of a Visa payWave card, the app relies on the contactless technology to process transactions securely via the Visa network, direct from a smartphone.

It is also built in close collaboration with ANZ and Rev. ANZ is the financial institution providing the virtual Visa prepaid card and is also the acquiring bank for loading funds. Rev is a prepaid payment processor that connects into VisaNet to process the transactions.

According to Visa Australia country manager, Vipin Kalra, the mobile application was created to not only shrink the contents of pockets and handbags, but to take the stress out of shopping.

"Here is an example of two industries collaborating and creating an end-to-end mobile offering. This is the first time in Australia that a telecommunications provider is offering such a solution to consumers," he said.

Vodafone said it will bolster its NFC smartphone range, with more choice on the way for customers in 2013 and beyond.

"We want to ensure our customers are first in line to benefit from this new wave of mobile payments technology. As of next year, 80 per cent of smartphones sold on contract Vodafone will have NFC technology," Vodafone general manager of strategy and business development, Thomas Roets, said.

It estimates total NFC payments globally to reach more than $110 billion in 2015.

"We expect to see NFC smartphones eventually replacing all the cards we carry in our wallets, whether for payment, travel, loyalty, ID, or gift vouchers, enabling access at a whim," Roets claimed.

In getting started with the app, customers will have to pick-up an NFC-SIM from Vodafone, download the Vodafone SmartPass app to an NFC-smartphone, register for a 'virtual' Visa reloadable prepaid card using the Vodafone SmartPass app, and pre-load funds from their existing Visa or MasterCard payment card.

It can then be used to pay at the stores that already accept contactless payments.

There will be a maximum number of four credit cards associated with every NFC-SIM. Other features include: No signature or pin required for purchases less than $100; a $500 per week top up limit; live transaction history; as well as an automatic top up option.

The app is scheduled to be available to customers early next year. Currently, 120 Vodafone and Visa staff will be trialling the solution. Till the release, Vodafone said it will be engaging in intensive trials and testing with Visa to ensure the Vodafone is rolled out smoothly and securely.


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